DAEO Records Relating to Political Appointees (Department of Labor)

Nick Surgey filed this request with the Department of Labor of the United States of America.
Tracking #

830284

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Nick Surgey

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Records in the possession of the Designated Agency Ethics Official(s). Please provide copies of any emails, consulting notes, counseling notes, or other written records pertaining to political appointees hired since January 20, 2017.

The Center for Media and Democracy is entitled to a fee waiver because it is a news media organization, and because this request for records concerns activities or operations of the government. Disclosure of the requested records will likely increase public understanding of government operations since CMD has the ability and the intention, through the means described below, to effectively convey information contained within the requested records to a broad public audience. Founded in 1993, CMD’s investigative research and reporting has appeared in local and national publications such as the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Post. CMD documents key facts in order to reveal the impact of policies on ordinary people, and has received various awards for its investigative reporting. In addition to using the information from this FOIA request to generate news stories, CMD would distribute information obtained and inform the public at large through various online platforms. CMD publishes information and investigative findings on a near daily basis through CMD’s reporting websites, PRWatch and ExposedbyCMD.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Nick Surgey

From: Miller, Darlene - SOL

Mr. Surgey:

Your request has been assigned to SOL with tracking number 830284. When the agency begins processing it, you will be able to track its progress at www.dol.gov/foia<http://www.dol.gov/foia>. If you need to contact us about it for any reason, please submit your inquiry through miller.darlene@dol.gov<mailto:miller.darlene@dol.gov> or phone 202-693-5442. In addition, it would be helpful to include the tracking number in the Subject line of any submission to us or to have it available at the time of a call.

Sincerely,

Darlene Miller
Government Information Specialist, Office of Information Services

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR | MANAGEMENT & ADMINISTRATIVE LEGAL SERVICES
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue NW, Rm N2420
Washington, DC 20210
(202) 693-5442 (O) | (202) 693-5389 (F) | miller.darlene@dol.gov<mailto:miller.darlene@dol.gov> (E)
e-FOIAs: foiarequests@dol.gov<mailto:foiarequests@dol.gov>

From: Yerxa, Christopher W - ASAM

Good afternoon -
I'm writing regarding your FOIA request to the US Department of Labor in which you seek "records in the possession of the Designated Agency Ethics Official(s). Please provide copies of any emails, consulting notes, counseling notes, or other written records pertaining to political appointees hired since January 20, 2017."

FOIA requires that each request reasonably describe the records being sought. Each request must be specific enough to permit an employee of the agency to reasonably ascertain exactly what records are being requested and locate them. As written, "pertaining to political appointees" in the context of records in possession of the Designated Agency Ethics Official does not describe a specific set of records.

Appreciate any clarification you can provide.

Chris Yerxa

Christopher W. Yerxa | Administrative Officer
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
U.S. Department of Labor | www.dol.gov<http://www.dol.gov> | yerxa.christopher@dol.gov<mailto:yerxa.christopher@dol.gov>

From: Nick Surgey

Hi Chris

We are seeking notes and other records in the possession of the DAEO created during the ethics review of political appointees hired since January 20, 2017. Hopefully that provides enough information - I am sure that would be clear enough for the DAEO - but if not, perhaps we could talk by phone?

Thanks for your help.

Nick

From: Yerxa, Christopher W - ASAM

Thank you for clarifying. We’ll reassess and be back in touch.

Christopher W. Yerxa | Administrative Officer
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management
U.S. Department of Labor | www.dol.gov<http://www.dol.gov> | yerxa.christopher@dol.gov<mailto:yerxa.christopher@dol.gov>

From: Sadler, Rob - SOL

Mr. Nick Surgey (via MuckRock):

I offer my apologies in advance. Due to our small staff and the number of nominees we are in the midst of processing, I have not as yet been able to address your request for "Records in the possession of the Designated Agency Ethics Official(s) . . . for copies of any e-mails, consulting notes, counseling notes, or other written records pertaining to political appointees hired since January 20, 2017."

I want to make sure that you would still like us to process this response, especially in light of (1) the fact that Secretary Acosta's ethics agreement is publicly available online at www.oge.gov, and
(2) we have no lobbyists among our appointees and have granted no waivers from either the Trump Ethics Pledge or 18 USC 208 / 5 CFR 2635.502.

I would also like to add that I am happy to talk to you at your convenience concerning recusals in general or the general types of routine counselling memos we might provide to appointees.

Regards,

Rob

Rob M. Sadler | Office of the Solicitor
Counsel for Ethics | Office of Legal Counsel
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Rm N2700, DC 20210
D 202-693-5528 | F 202-693-5539 | E sadler.robert2@dol.gov<mailto:sadler.robert2@dol.gov>

This message may contain information that is privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. Do not share or copy without consulting the Office of the Solicitor. If you think you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately.

From: Nick Surgey

Rob

I would like to still go ahead with this request. Happy to discuss by phone if that helps, but please continue with the FOIA.

I appreciate your help. Have a great weekend.

Nick Surgey

From: Sadler, Rob - SOL

Thank you for your response. I am in the process of gathering responsive documents.

Regards,

Rob

Rob M. Sadler | Office of the Solicitor
Counsel for Ethics | Office of Legal Counsel
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Rm N2700, DC 20210
D 202-693-5528 | F 202-693-5539 | E sadler.robert2@dol.gov<mailto:sadler.robert2@dol.gov>

This message may contain information that is privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. Do not share or copy without consulting the Office of the Solicitor. If you think you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately.

From: Sadler, Rob - SOL

Should be forthcoming.

Rob

Rob M. Sadler | Office of the Solicitor
Counsel for Ethics | Office of Legal Counsel
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Rm N2700, DC 20210
D 202-693-5528 | F 202-693-5539 | E sadler.robert2@dol.gov<mailto:sadler.robert2@dol.gov>

This message may contain information that is privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. Do not share or copy without consulting the Office of the Solicitor. If you think you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately.

From: Nick Surgey

Thanks, Rob.

Nick

From: Department of Labor

The Solicitor’s Office hopes to be sending you the responsive materials by week’s end.

Thanks for your patience.

Rob

Rob M. Sadler | Office of the Solicitor
Counsel for Ethics | Office of Legal Counsel
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Rm N2700, DC 20210
D 202-693-5528 | F 202-693-5539 | E sadler.robert2@dol.gov<mailto:sadler.robert2@dol.gov>

This message may contain information that is privileged and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. Do not share or copy without consulting the Office of the Solicitor. If you think you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately.

From: Department of Labor

A copy of documents responsive to the request.

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